The agriculture ministry seeks to turn Vietnam into one of world's top 15 organic farming countries by 2030, and has its sights on the EU market given trade deals.
Under a draft proposal it will submit to the prime minister in the fourth quarter, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to have 7-10 percent of the farming area in the country under organic crops by then.
The targeted rates are at least 5 percent for animal husbandry and 100,000 hectares of ponds, or 7-8 percent of the total for aquaculture.
Tran Thi Loan, deputy director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), said at a recent forum that organic farming in Vietnam is mostly small in scale.
Industry insiders said Vietnam lacks policies to encourage organic farming and a system of certification and supervision to ensure quality.
Olivier Catrou, head of the organic farming division at France’s National Institute of Origin and Quality, said the government needs to establish such a system so that farmers can produce in larger scales.
Vietnam has great potential to export organic produce to the EU thanks to the upcoming EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, the agriculture ministry said. Last year, with almost 13,000 tons, the country ranked 39th in organic exports to the EU.
Data from the ministry shows organic farming is done in 40 localities on a total area of 23,400 hectares, 97.5 percent of them are under EU, U.S. and Japanese standards, and most of the produce are vegetables, fruits and tea.
Domestic consumption of organic produce is worth around VND500 billion ($21.5 million) a year in Hanoi and VND400 billion ($17.2 million) in Ho Chi Minh City.
There are 20 exporters of organic produce who ship 260,000 tons a year worth almost $15 million.